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  • Writer's pictureStaff Reporter

SPD Show Support for Fallen Colleagues at Budget Meeting

The Syracuse Police Department (SPD) meeting took place against the backdrop of recent unfortunate events that occurred about two weeks ago. A triple homicide due to gunfire occurred near Syracuse, New York, while police officers were on their regular patrol.


After a routine traffic violation, Syracuse police officers attempted to stop a vehicle, but the driver fled. After a brief investigation, the perpetrator was identified through license plates, and officers, suspecting he possessed a firearm, went to his address. Upon arrival, the perpetrator opened fire, killing two officers: Lieutenant Michael Hoosock, 37, a deputy from Onondaga County, and Officer Michael Jensen, 29, from the Syracuse Police Department.


The remaining officers immediately returned fire, killing the perpetrator identified as Christopher Murphy, 33, who had no criminal history apart from an arrest for DUI ten years ago.


Unfortunately, three young lives, including two officers, ended abruptly due to a routine traffic violation.


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Board members expressed their support for the police and extended deep sympathy to the families and colleagues of the fallen officers. They expressed solidarity and prayed that such incidents would never happen again.


The Chief of Police for Syracuse (SPD) took the floor and began his presentation. The first, and very important, point was his presentation on the reduction in violent crime rates by 26.8% and the general decrease in all firearm-related crimes, with a crucial 68% decrease in crime victims with firearms.


All the data presented by the chief were from Comstat, a management process developed by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in the 1990s to reduce crime.


A major problem facing the SPD is the lack of staff due to retirements. There's always a shortage of about 40 people needed to perform the job properly and provide all the services the public expects and deserves.


Because of this unfortunate situation, the SPD is forced to resort to measures such as overtime or overlapping police academy classes, meaning that before one class finishes, another begins to ensure the smooth functioning of the police department.


After the Chief's introductory presentation, a review of costs and budget allocation followed.


The majority of the budget funds are spent on patrols and Armory, with most overtime hours, and thus the budget, going to drug house busts, as constant police supervision is required and working from 9 to 5 is not possible.


An additional expense is also incurred by training the SWAT team for negotiations with barricaded armed perpetrators, which should end peacefully. Such negotiations require additional specialized SWAT team training, automatically increasing costs.


The cadet program also has its place in the budget, as it fills the vacant positions of police officers needed for normal police functioning.


Changing the narrative, that is, presenting the police profession in a light of admiration and respect, could encourage people to enroll in the police academy, thereby increasing the number of officers on the streets and reducing overtime, concluded the Chief and the board together.


Operational supply costs have increased from 3 to 5 million, a jump of 2 million dollars, and equipping each officer with a body camera, taser, and other miscellaneous items incur an additional $1.1 million cost for technology no longer covered by ARPA, stated the Chief of Police.


This year, the SPD received $6.5 million for overtime, which is $1.2 million more than last year.


Of these $6.5M, $2.5 million were paid by private companies and insurance companies, further relieving the city.


The SPD is trying in many ways to increase productivity and relieve its employees and the city of costs, so a series of technological innovations have been introduced, such as Microsoft 365 and new vehicle software.


Due to the complexity of police work and constant change, the importance of continuous education and professional development of police officers was highlighted.


Cleaning overgrown public areas is also one of the items that require funding from the budget because these are areas that could potentially be used for hiding or storing weapons.ž


One of the things the board was interested in was the question of having only one dispatcher and how well one person can do that job, to which the chief replied that it is only a dog control dispatcher, and all other calls go through the 911 service.


Board members emphasized the importance of collaboration with the police and praised the way the SPD addresses issues, highlighting the importance of ensuring a police force that reflects the community's values and is capable of effectively serving and protecting all residents, saying they look forward to continuing to work with everyone on this important issue.


After exhausting all topics, the meeting slowly began to draw to a close with small jokes and laughter between the Chief and the board.


At the end of the meeting, the board members supported the Chief of Police in his efforts to introduce innovations and improve police work, and once again expressed sympathy for the fallen officers and the grief experienced by their families and colleagues.


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